No Apologies for the Weather

7 October 2009

No Apologies for the Weather
by Taylor Leedahl
Published by Thistledown Press
Reviewed by Carrie Prefontaine
$12.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-51-5

No Apologies for the Weather is Saskatoon poet Taylor Leedahl’s bold poetic debut. Tracing the poet’s movement into maturity, the volume confidently and intricately explores identity, sexuality, and intimacy. Saturated with a wisdom beyond the poet’s years, the poetry also retains the sparkle, vigour, and occasionally, idealism, of her adolescence.

Many of the poems are firmly rooted in places that will be familiar to Saskatoon readers, reminding us how strongly our experience of place shapes our sense of self. In the poem “Out Here I Declare Myself,” for example, prairie bluffs provide an appropriate backdrop for the poet’s struggle to define herself: “Out here I declare myself / And reap entertainment from birch trees. / Slender knobby knees, paper peels / to reveal another layer / of the same flaking skin. / If only a piece of me had these qualities…” Leedahl has an eye for detail and she paints those details into multi-layered, melodious poems.

Indeed, Leedahl’s poetry is coloured by music and her wordplay is brightly lyrical. Poems such as “A Personal Revolution on Your Skin,” “Ocean in Autumn Leaves,” and “This is the Calming” deserve to be read aloud in order to fully experience their full artistry.

Leedhal’s poetry is not just for the ear or the eye. It is deeply sensual, as in the poem “Boyfriend Box,” which explores the indelible link between scent and memory: “Strawberry car freshener / fighting to mask hockey equipment stench; / the rink smell that became an aphrodisiac.” In these poems, “wind wraps [at] ankles,” alarm clocks measure the moments of life in ticks of the second hand, saying you-will-ne-ver-re-vis-it-this-sec-ond-again, and “[l]ungs are purest” in the cold air of the snow-blanketed prairie.

No apologies for the weather are necessary after the sensual delights of this poetry.


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